Sugar Snow


Standing at the sink while waiting for the water to boil, I’m looking out into the backyard. The city is awakening, but its still early and quiet. I see the dark silhouettes of trees framing the yard and the ones lining the boulevard beyond. They seem to tower, growing and reaching with their dark arms to the heavens in mornings glow.

I pull on my long johns and get out for a quick shovel, particularly the snow in the back yard. Cold, crisp air greets me, waking me up with a freshness you only get in deep winter. It’s so quiet and the snow on the front walk crunches as I walk.

The snow has been accumulating back here after a small snow went untouched and was followed by another few inches that fell on top of that. It’s been cold here, and the fact it snows in this winter desert we live in turns this place into pure magic. A crust has formed on the powder snow, about a cm or two that keeps the surface together for a few seconds while I shovel. The snow itself is powder snow, so dry and cold here, the moisture is in held in individual flakes that clump.

I like to call it sugar snow.

It’s a pleasure to shovel, much lower effort than wet snow and it pulls off the ground smooth, leaving behind a sprinkling of sugar snow. The rhythm of the shovel scraping the sidewalk, the swish of powder snow flying off the scoop, and my breathing are all I hear. My exhalation wisps in the air, condensing where it clings to my face. Frost begins to form on my toque fringe, my eyebrows, and lashes.

I think about my body and get caught up in the wonder of these bodies we live in. I feel the way my form moves when I shovel. My arms move gracefully even while doing this simple task. I focus on the contracting of ab muscles as I twist to shovel, I feel my quads and glutes working together in effortless orchestration. A body that can feel so strong and be focused and determined.

I think about how powerful we can be in small moments.

I continue to scoop and shovel, clearing the back path, lost in thoughts of the physical form.

I come back in the house, my blood is pumping, and my cheeks are rosy.

I greet the day with an open heart.